Grading (Meat Plants)

Oral Answers to Questions — Agriculture and Rural Development – in the Northern Ireland Assembly at 3:45 pm on 26th November 2001.

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Photo of Edwin Poots Edwin Poots DUP 3:45 pm, 26th November 2001

8. asked the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development to outline the potential benefits of having meat plants carrying out grading.

(AQO 431/01)

Photo of Ms Brid Rodgers Ms Brid Rodgers Social Democratic and Labour Party

I assume that the question follows the vision group recommendation that the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development should consider, in consultation with the industry, the transfer of carcass classification from the Livestock and Meat Commission (LMC) to the meat companies. The fact that the vision group has made this recommendation, as with all other recommendations, should not be taken to imply that I or my officials either support or oppose it. I will want to take account of comments received on this, as on other recommendations, during the consultation exercise, before making a decision.

Photo of Edwin Poots Edwin Poots DUP

First, it is a disgrace that the Minister has not made a statement on the statement made last week to the House.

Secondly, I do not assume that the Minister has made any decisions on whether meat plants should be grading or not. I have asked the Minister to outline the potential benefits. I can see the potential downside. The question still sits before the Minister.

Photo of Ms Brid Rodgers Ms Brid Rodgers Social Democratic and Labour Party

I am not aware of the statement the Member is referring to. Many statements are made in the House. He has not been specific.

As regards the question that he asked, I clearly indicated that I do not want to prejudge any of the debate that is taking place or the conclusion that I will come to following consultation. The Member would be the first to criticise me if I stood up in the House and prejudged issues that are currently the subject of consultation.